Formula 1 testing: Lewis Hamilton fastest as new 2020 cars unleashed

Hamilton can win his seventh world title this season

Lewis Hamilton started his 2020 Formula 1 campaign with a powerful statement of intent as he topped the first day of pre-season testing in Spain.

Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas shared the driving for Mercedes and ended the day first and second fastest.

The world champion was 0.337 seconds quicker than Bottas, who headed Racing Point’s Sergio Perez by 0.062secs.

Hamilton’s time was set on the ‘hard’ compound of tyre, whereas Bottas and Perez were on the faster ‘medium’.

Bottas described the day as “a nice starting point” and said: “The car feels good.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who had two harmless spins at Turn 13, was fourth fastest at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, ahead of Russian Daniil Kvyat in the Alpha Tauri – formerly known as Toro Rosso, the Red Bull junior outfit – and Carlos Sainz’s McLaren sixth.

The Dutchman said: “I touched once the gravel, that is why I spun. And once I lost it in the same corner. These things can happen trying to see the limits of the car, what you can do. Those things are part of it. Luckily no damage, which at the end of the day is the most important thing.

“It has been a good day; the car has been working really well, and the engine – that’s all we want to see. For us it is the most important [thing], I’m very happy about that.

“It is your first time back in the car so of course your neck is always going to be stiff.”

Ferrari had a low-key day that started with…

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